Day 2 – Dragons Head
Starting at 7am meant lower temperatures than day 1…a sigh of relief after mass cramps and severe dehydration punished the 150 starters the day before.
45km, 2700m ascent, 2 massive climbs followed by two 1400m technical downhill’s, if my legs weren’t sore enough already they were going to be killing by the end of today.
As we slogged our way up to 2200m we passed stunning aqua blue lakes – the dragon’s head, which was surrounded by incredibly sharp steep ridgelines 2500m above – the backbone of the dragon. These steep climbs were going to make for a very long day.
The swirling cool wind was uplifting and 360° views were a constant reminder of the reason why I was out there pushing the body and mind to the limit.
With Gaby storming past me again on the final decent into Imst and an oncoming thunder and rain storm, I finished in 6.24hrs and overall 2nd, but with a big enough gap on Julia who pushed herself through the day with a big bruised knee from a tumble the day before. Meaning I now go into the pink leaders jersey.
Day 3 – ‘The Easy Stage’
Rain kept us cool this morning and the train crossing gave us a nice rest and toilet stop before heading up the one 31km, 1800m mountain climb and decent of the day.
Thunder and rains storm warnings meant a slight change of plan – not taking the exposed ridge, but instead a beautiful flower filled and forest single trail.
the final 5km downhill I was waiting for Gaby to once again fly past me, unknown to me that she had unfortunately pulled out due to low iron and energy level. The race was really starting to take its toll, now with 30 people pulling out. Finishing in 4.17hrs, my legs were now really battling through the pain and therefore a lack of control especially on the technical sections.
Day 4 – 4th and F-inal
I woke up feeling knackered. My legs had no energy, I felt sick and therefore didn’t want to eat, my feet had swollen so I had decided to take the innersoles out of my shoes, I was going to suffer today.
45km with 3000m ascent and to my pleasure only 1800m decent. It is races like this that camaraderie is built. The Spanish coming to my rescue to shoo the cows on so I could cross the bridge and today Julia was going to be my ‘Ox’.
She is an extraordinarily strong athlete. As I was focusing on her heels to drag me up the mammoth 2700m climb, I said to her “you could keep going for another 4 days couldn’t you” and she replied “ yes but I would rather just do it all in one hit” She is awesome!
We ran/stomped the rest of the day in touch, giving each other some energy with just simple presence. I was told at the start that on this stage I was allowed to say the f-word as much as I liked. Odd I thought at the time, but as we passed the final 15km to go marker (5 of that being down and 10 being undulating) the f-word was in full force!
Finally the finish banners appeared, the helicopter was overhead, I had just done 160km and 10,000m in 4 days with the help, support and encouragement of all the organisers and other runners of the 4 Trails. As we ran through the finish for the last time I felt like the happiest person alive. We had done it!